early 15c., from M.Fr. assister
"to stand by, help, put, place, assist" (14c.), from L. assistere
"assist, stand by," from ad-
"to" + sistere
"take a stand, cause to stand," from PIE *siste-
, reduplicated form of base *sta-
"to stand" (see stet
). Sporting sense (n.) is attested 1877 in baseball, 1925 in ice hockey.